Before making the final decision to carry the St. Nicholas coloring t-shirt, we thought it would be best to thoroughly test the product ourselves. We wanted to make sure that it wasn't going to end up a tear-filled disaster for anyone due to washed out colors or unforeseen difficulties. That said, it was a grand success in our home!
To start, I ordered three t-shirts (small, medium, and large) from the printer to see how big the design would be, how it looked on the shirts, etc...and they looked great. So then to see about shrinkage. The shirts say they are pre-shrunk. I've always wondered about that, but never got "scientific" about it until now. I took the large as the washing "guinea-pig" and measured it before washing and after washing. It shrunk slightly less than an inch in each direction (top to bottom, and side to side on the bottom of the shirt). That measurement held true through many more washings - even after drying a few times on high heat. So the shirts passed the washing-shrinking test with flying colors.
Then we got together for some serious coloring. I had two sets of Crayola fabric markers to use between four of us. The artists were myself, a good friend of mine, the now-famous calendar artist - Liliana, and our daughter. We'll call her "Sweetie" - because she just is :) We all sat down and read the instructions - seemed simple enough...I was bit concerned that we would have to tack the shirts down to prevent shifting, so I had some clothes pins on hand, which ended up unnecessary. Hey, the fewer complications, the better, right?!? We slid pieces of paper between the front and back of the shirts and started to color.
We noticed right away that you REALLY need to hold the markers as straight up-and-down as possible to keep the color from bleeding into an unwanted area. That really ended up being our top "tip" from the experiment. ...that and don't forget the paper between the layers - there was quite a bit of bleed-through on the paper that would've been on the shirt if we hadn't done that.
They were pretty easy to color and lots of fun; even uncrafty-me enjoyed it! For your reference, Sweetie is 7 years old and is more easy-going than I ever was; she LOVED it. In the grand scheme of crafty-things, this ranks pretty easy...about as easy as it gets.
As for heat-setting, I put them in the dryer on high (all together) for 40 minutes. The instructions that come with the markers say to put them in for 30 minutes, but I was worried about the cool-down cycle making them not stay hot enough for long enough. You CAN use the iron for it, but I wanted to test the most mommy-friendly option and it worked great.
I also washed them each individually - with one of my husband's undershirts - in cold water. I didn't see any bleed onto his shirts, but I'd still wash them alone at least once like that in case they bleed. The instructions say to wash them alone for the first three washings and that is on my instruction sheet - so if you bail on the second two washings, it's at your own risk ;) I took the risk. It was okay for me, at least - and the colors stayed true.
As for the sizing on these shirts, they run big. Our Sweetie wears a 7/8 in Lands End clothes and the size small is a bit big on her, but it's good because she'll have room for a long sleeved shirt underneath in the winter and it's long enough to wear with leggings and provide enough cover.
I hope you find this helpful and if you buy these and like them enough to want to see more saints done this way - or you'd rather see them in color on the shirt, please let us know! We want to hear from you :)
May God Bless you and your family....